Psalm 77:11-20 says, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago… I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds…your path [led] through the mighty waters though your footprints were not seen.”
We don’t usually think of “remembering” as a spiritual discipline, but the Biblical writers often commanded God’s people to remember. The Lord knows how forgetful his people are. I myself am a perfect example; I am always forgetting where I put my phone, or my car keys, or my to-do list. Can I get an “Amen”?
We are just as forgetful when it comes to our spiritual lives as well. In the middle of trouble, I tend to forget how God provided for me and blessed me in the past. And, probably like many of you, if I do take the time to recollect, I am tempted to think that this type of reflection takes me back to something that doesn’t seem relevant to my present difficulties. But the Biblical writers considered the effort of remembering a forward-moving practice.
In Psalm 77, Asaph, the writer of this Psalm, was struggling with despair. “When I was in distress, I sought the LORD…and my soul refused to be comforted.” Initially his memories of God’s past blessings make him feel a little bitter. “Will the LORD show favor again? Did the LORD forget?” (verses 4-9). Asaph was probably thinking the same thing I alluded to earlier: “that was then, but will He help me now?”
However, Asaph continues his reflections, and interestingly his tone in this Psalm changes. The more he remembers God’s goodness and dealings with his people, the more Asaph is confronted with God’s unchanging and unfailing compassion. The more Asaph reflects, the more he becomes convinced of God’s trustworthy character. In turn, this kind of remembering broadens Asaph’s perspective of his present situation and gives him eyes of faith to be able to see the “invisible footprints” of God’s comfort carrying him all along. Finally, Asaph is able to take some steps forward himself (Psalm 77:19).
May Asaph and his Psalm be an encouragement to you. I leave you with this challenge: whatever desperate prayer you are praying now, take time to consider what God has revealed to you about Himself through not only His Word, but also His past works in your life. If it helps, journal about it. See if you can’t discover some eyes of faith and recognize His footprints carrying and leading you right now as well.